Blog Entry

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Posted on: February 25, 2012 8:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:08 pm

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- They are perhaps the three most pointedly honest guys manning the television towers these days, and for the second straight year, they were placed in a semi-circle and the leashes were removed.

When Johnny Miller, Brandel Chamblee and Nick Faldo get a whiff of blood in their nostrils, it makes for a darned good fireside chat, and that's exactly what transpired at times during the Golf Channel's occasional State of the Game program, staged on the network's Accenture Match Play set on Friday night.

As was the case last year, Tiger Woods was a huge talking point, beginning with Miller's recent magazine proclamation that he thought Woods would win 30-40 more events in his career and make it to 18 major victories, which would tie the record held by Jack Nicklaus.

Boy, did Miller back down quickly from that rosy proclamation. Woods was eliminated in the second round at the Accenture ths week as his putting woes continue to mount.

“That was a best-case scenario," Miller said. "I thought after watching him in Australia at the Presidents Cup, and also seeing him perform the way he did at Sherwood and watching him putt pretty good in both places -– and he hit it unbelievably good, very graceful.  I was thinking, wow, this second career could be really good. He could win 30 or 40 tournaments, and he could win two, three or four majors. 

“The bottom line is, I don’t think he’s going even tie his record, a best-case scenario. So it’s a tough road to hoe.  And like you say, he’s lost his mojo or psyche or power. He had power over everybody and he’s lost that.”

As promised before the session was staged, the trio weighed in on long putters, perhaps the most contentious debate in the game over the past two seasons.

“It’s called a golf swing, not a golf anchor," Faldo said. "The amateurs, for the enjoyment of the game, let them do whatever they like. But for professionals, I think we should start looking at all our rules, or quite a few on the equipment, like the size of the driver face.”

Wow, so Sir Nick wants to back down the horsepower and go for bifurcation -- two sets of rules -- too? Interesting. Suicidal for the game, but interesting.

“I am all for two sets of rules for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is eliminating the long putter in the professional ranks and allows –- to Nick’s point -– to provide a forum which allows you to actually control the motion of the putter without nerves or feel or touch actually affecting the motion," Chamblee said. "So they could make the game simultaneously more interesting at the professional level, more interesting for us to call it and more fun for the recreational golfer if they would do this.”

Chamblee threw caution to the desert wind. If not into a cholla.

"So they could make the game simultaneously more interesting at the professional level, more interesting for us to call it and more fun for the recreational golfer if they would do this," he said. "The average golfer hits the ball 195 yards; they need bigger heads; they need spring effect; they need long putters. You want to grow the game? Let them have fun and do it."

The group was hardly singing praises for the new PGA Tour proposal, seemingly a done deal to be green-lighted next month by the tour Policy Board, to blow up Q-school in its current form, have a wraparound season starting in the fall, and meld the Nationwide Tour and Q-school into a joint qualifying process.

"Frankly I think it's quite sad," Chamblee said. "Every year there's one or two examples of a guy coming out of school or making it through Q-school and having a huge effect. Case in point, Y.E. Yang was the last guy to get his tour card in 2008 and won a PGA Championship in 2009."

Frankly, while the proposal has some merits, the move is being made mostly for financial reasons. Which makes everybody shudder to a degree. It could slow the number of international players coming to the States, because no established player will want to spend a year as a veritable intern/apprentice on the Nationwide Tour first.
"Another case in point, Sang-moon Bae, he's here, he's playing," Chamblee said. "Now, tip your cap to him, he came over and went to Q-school [last fall]. But would he have come over and gone to Q-school if he knew that it would necessitate a year in the minor leagues [Nationwide] before he could get out and play the PGA Tour?

"He won the Japanese money list last year, that's millions of dollars last year and won his national championship in Korea. Is he going to forego all that to come over here and play the Nationwide Tour? He is a big part of golf, now; and a big part of this tournament, now. You're talking about eliminating an opportunity for players that don't even have a vote on the issue. 

"I understand what the PGA Tour is trying to do, acquiesce to the demands of a sponsor, but personally I think it's short-sighted."

Amen and hallelujah, brother Brandel.

They also tossed a few observations around about the LPGA, including some less-than-flattering aspersions about the work ethic of the American players, who have definitely lost their grip on the top rung of the LPGA ladder. At last season's Solheim Cup, the players on the U.S. team had amassed, what, three victories between them over 2011?

South Florida's Lexi Thompson, the latest teen prodigy, might help in that regard. She already has a couple of wins.

"The last United States lady to be player of the year was Beth Daniel, 1994," Chamblee said. "They are getting out-worked by Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, they are getting out-worked."

We tend to agree, but I'm not on the panel. So, continue ... 

"If Lexi Thompson can avoid pitfalls, she has all of the talent to be just as good, if not better, than Beth Daniel was, which is saying a lot because that’s a talented woman,” Chamblee said.


Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:31 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

We already have bifurcation.  Most amateurs don't play in tournaments of any sort. So, they can do whatever they want, including to taking mulligans, giving putts, improving lies, etc.  So who cares what it takes for them to have a good time.  Have some fun and then if you want to move to the nest level take the necessary steps.

If you decide play tournaments then you'll need to pay attention to usga rules.

Since: Jan 1, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:33 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

I expect Tiger to win some tournaments and perhaps a couple more Majors but the idea that he might win 30-40 more tournaments seems crazy to me. Phil Mickelson is a great player and he only has 40 tour wins his entire career so Tiger winning that many after the age of 36 is unlikely at best.

Since: Jul 11, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:50 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

 Tiger has said before that his mental game is more reflective of his mother than of his father and I agree. It's quite Eastern, in that he often seemed to draw all of the turbulence around him into himself, in a way that reminded me of the tales of Shiva, fittingly called the Night Tiger, Destroyer of Worlds.

I've had people look at me as if I'm nuts when I've said that, but the very first time that I saw Tiger on TV since his appearance with Bob Hope was during his 2nd Amateur victory. It was one of the Saturday rounds, I believe the semifinal, and he was on the 14th fairway, as memory has it. (The hole with the two vertically separate fairways, actually.) He was in an extended delay waiting for the group ahead to clear the green so that he could hit his second shot. The announcers seemed a bit put out, thinking his head too big for the moment. Nonetheless, they kept the camera on him for fully five minutes. I got chills watching the kid's body language, a line from Ayn Rand coming to mind. She wrote that if you ever see an adult concentrating at anything as intently as any two-year-old child, then you will be in the presence of a great man. That quote had rolled around the back of my mind for years, but in that instant I knew not only what she had meant, but that she was right. I knew it so clearly that I actually called both my brother and my father to let them know and have them turn on the tube so that they wouldn't miss what was about to happen. Needless to say, he tattoed the ball, stunning the booth.

Over the years, many people saw what I saw, but most, I think, discounted the evidence of their own eyes. Alas, Tiger himself seems not to know what he is no longer doing. Personally, I think he's still in his own way. The best athlete will always be the one whose human mind is in sync with a body as in touch with its surroundings and capabilities as is any animal's. May he rediscover himself.

Tiger knows what he is doing.  Tiger's mind is not on golf, but on banging skanky women.

Since: Feb 27, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:53 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Maybe they are trying to avoid an invasion of Europeans and Asian players. Maybe they are trying to avoid what happened to the LPGA. The top 4 in the world are Euro's and with Ishikawa, Bae, Huh, Yang, Choi there is a definitely a more Asian feel to the tour.

Since: Feb 20, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 11:32 am

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

The women aren't getting outworked necessarily....women's golf in the US is truly non existant.....if they stopped playing noone would notice....therefore we are taking from a ridiculously small pool of potentially decent golfers to compete against women from countries where golf might be more of a top line sport for these women

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:04 am

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Actually, Major Leage Baseball has different rules regarding equipment.  MLB outlaws non-wood bats; amatures are free to use metal bats.  BUT, I agree with you...same rules for everyone.  I used to hit it 300 yds when I was in my 20's, now I hit it 210 - 220 on a good day, and my handicap has suffered because of it.  Have all courses set thier tees according to a players handicap, and use the everyone, pro and amature, us the same equipment.  I have no problem playing from the white tees while a competitor of mine has to go back to the blues or golds or whatever.

Since: Feb 27, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:04 am

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Don't have different rules for equipment for amateurs--no other sport--basketball, baseball, etc. does that--feel like 2nd class citizens--adjust the tees appropriately--yes, Nick, I do hit it 195-200 off the tee--so the "white" tee par 4 of 354--would be driver--5-iron to the green--done deal

Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 8:50 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Vranger Tiger has always used the vgrooves even when all others used the ugrooves. He has always atayed behind on technology. Look it up before you make a comment like that. He struggles now because he is on his fourth swing overhaul. No one has ever survived more than one major swing change. Look at Padraig Harrington, he won two majors and changed his swing and he isn't quite the golfer he was. Also Tiger doesn't have his head on straight and that is what really is hurting him. Not the vgroove change because he has always played with them.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 8:26 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Johnny Miller is becoming the John Kerry of golf commentators.  "I Was actually saying Tiger WAS going to break Jacks record BEFORE I said he was NOT going to break the record."  --  

WHO CARES  was all these talking heads and know nothing idiots have to say?  One day he's back, the next day, he's done.  Why don't we all just sit back and let the players play.  We'll see whathappens -  

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: February 26, 2012 8:06 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

I love the idea of the Nationwide tour meaning more and getting rid of Q-School.  6 months to a year of proving yourself vs one great month better shows how good the golfer is going to be.  They do need to do something for Euro and Asian players though, they do not want that path to dry up

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